I hope to share research, information, tips, and a little of my family history with others following the path to greater genealogical awareness. Let the search for enlightenment continue...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Follow Friday: Who's Following You?

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) I'm always interested in reading other people's blogs, and I hope other people are interested in and enjoy reading mine. I like learning what's new, hearing family stories, and learning how other people approach their genealogy and family history research. I like reading posts that I don't agree with, because those posts often make me think a little harder and a little more analytically about what I believe. I also like reading geneabloggers who report from other parts of the country, as well as other parts of the world. You are an interesting group.

Unfortunately, when I find reference to my blog on a non genealogy site it's usually a splog site (See my post Madness Monday: Splog Busters, or My Experiment to Fight Splog.). I was more than little surprised, in a good way, to discover where reference to my blog appeared this week. On Wednesday for my (Almost) Wordless Wednesday entry I posted a photo of circa WWI Red Cross volunteers in front of St. Mary's Church in Worcester, MA from my grandmother's photo collection. Yesterday I discovered my blog was referenced on the Red Cross Chat blog under What We're Reading! Now that's cool.

Geneabloggers, have you found reference to your blog in a good place? Someplace not genealogy related, but interesting? I'd love to know. What's your experience?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: WWI Red Cross Volunteers

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) World War I Red Cross volunteers standing in front of St. Mary's Church (Our Lady of Czestochowa), in Worcester, MA. I recognize my grandmother, Antonina (Bulak) Szerejko and her sister, my great-aunt Helen Bulak in the photo. If you had an ancestor in the Worcester Polish community around 1918 take a look at the photo. You might see someone you know.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 4 of 4)


(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette)

Epilogue

On August 4, 2002 a granite memorial marker was placed and dedicated to the six Naramore children in the Riverside Cemetery in Barre, Massachusetts. The ceremony was attended by approximately three dozen people including the town historian, members of the Barre Historical Society, local politicians, and the Massachusetts Secretary of State. The group gathered to remember the six slain children and mark in a dignified way their previously unmarked paupers' graves. Two musicians played a flute duet for the occasion.

As one of the T&G articles said, nothing can excuse Lizzie Naramore's actions. Yet what does the "Coldbrook Tragedy" say about society in 1901--the lack of a "social safety net," the place of women in society, mental illness, the court system, the child welfare system? What does it say about society today? How much have things really changed?

See Also:

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 2 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 3 of 4)

Monday, August 23, 2010

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 3 of 4)


(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) After all that time on the Internet, and with eight pages of notes what did I learn and what do I really know? Let me break it down.

What I'm sure of (or at least reasonably sure of):

~ Coldbrook Springs no longer exists as a town and is now part of watershed land for the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC).
~ Baldwinville is part of Templeton.
~ Frank and Lizzie's wedding date
~ Ethel Marion's birth date
~ Chester Irving's birth date
~ Lena Blanche's birth date
~ The children's death date
~ The children's burial place - Riverside Cemetery, Barre, MA
~ Name spellings are flexible (e.g. Naramore/Narramore, Lena/Lina).
~ Lucius Naramore's real estate was worth $8,000 and his personal estate was worth $5,000 in 1870, and his real estate was worth $4,000 and personal estate was worth $2,500 in 1860 (U.S. Census).

What I think I know, but I need to verify (or get more details):

~ Frank's birth date and birthplace
~ Frank's death date is after 1930, and he is probably buried in either Worcester or Winchester, NH.
~ Lizzie's birth date and birthplace
~ Birth dates and birthplaces for Charles Edward, Walter Craig, and daughter Elizabeth
~ Lizzie gave birth to seven children, six of whom were still living when the 1900 census was taken.
~ Josiah Craig's approximate birth date and wedding date
~ Craig family descendants still live in St. Andrew's, New Brunswick.
~ Lizzie worked in a boarding house in Baldwinville, MA.
~ Frank's father Lucius was married twice, and Minerva Warren was his second wife.
~ Frank's family in Winchester, NH were farmers and in the lumber business.
~ Lizzie was committed to the insane hospital in Worcester (There were two facilities, but I believe she was committed to what is now Worcester State Hospital.).
~ Templeton, MA paid for the funerals of the children.

Good to know, here say, or gossip, but might be worth following up on:

~ Lizzie worked as a domestic in Baldwinville, MA, Manchester, NH, and Eastport, ME.
~ Lizzie worked as a dressmaker.
~ Governor Curtis Guild, Jr. visited Lizzie at the insane hospital before pardoning her.
~ Lizzie had Frank arrested.
~ Frank was arrested for assaulting another man and fined $10.

Interesting to know:

~ Lizzie had to leave her family home in New Brunswick at an early age. Why?
~ Lizzie worked as a dressmaker until her eyes gave out.
~ Frank had not seen his half-brother for 13 years up until the time of the murders. Again, why?
~ Frank earned $12 a week, but was out of work for two months the winter before the murders.
~ The murders happened in March after a cold winter with little food for the family.
~ According to one newspaper report Lizzie was described as a large, handsome woman.
~ Frank and Lizzie's daughter Elizabeth was called Bessie.

In general, my standard operating procedure is believe nothing and verify everything. Over the years I've found errors in death certificates, marriage records, burial records, and census records. I try to double check everything or find multiple sources when I can. Also, as you can tell, I am interested in the details of people's lives beyond names and dates. What makes people tick? What were their day to day lives like? So where do I go from here?

The first thing I would do is go to the Worcester Public Library to verify what I already have with the Ancestry Library Edition and the NEHGS database. I would check the print version of the Worcester City Directories for information for Frank Naramore to track where he was living before and after 1930. The directories also (sometimes) provide death dates and removal dates and locations. If I find Frank's death date I could check the local paper for obituaries to discover additional information and his burial place. I could check the Worcester City Hall Clerk's Office for a death certificate. I'd review the microfilm for local newspaper articles about the crime. I'd check the border crossing lists between the United States and Canada to see if I could discover if Lizzie returned to New Brunswick after she was released from the insane hospital. Are hospital records available? My guess is no, but it couldn't hurt to check. Other potential sources of information include records for the towns of Templeton and Barre, MA and Winchester, NH. A library or historical society in St. Andrews, New Brunswick might have some information as well. Court records might be available and accessible. That just a start...

I discovered a lot of information. What I didn't discover is what happened to Lizzie Naramore after 1906 or 1907. I believe she worked for meager earnings in the Boston area and returned once to visit the graves of her children. One of the newspaper articles I read suggested she may have moved to a larger city such as Boston or New York to escape notoriety by disappearing into the crowd. She may have changed her name or returned to Canada.

The mystery continues...


Update 9/6/10: To see a transcription of Frank Naramore's obituary see my blog post Amanuensis Monday: Frank L. Naramore Obituary.


See Also:

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 2 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 4 of 4)

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 2 of 4)


(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) The assignment for the 97th edition of the Carnival of Genealogy was to spend between three and five hours researching someone's genealogy from scratch. I will admit I did spend a bit more time, about six hours, researching the Naramore family. I also wrote some of my notes by hand rather than printing everything off, so the note-taking process involved some extra time. I typed up my notes after I completed my research.

For my research I only used sources that I was able to access online from home. Its also worth mentioning that I do not have a subscription to Ancestry. Shocking I know. When I need to use Ancestry for my ongoing family research I use the Ancestry Library Edition at the Worcester Public Library, but the Library Edition is not available for home use. I do have a subscription to Footnote.com. All of the other sources I used are free and available online either through the Worcester Public Library (WPL), the Boston Public Library (BPL), or the Internet. In general, when I'm working on my genealogy, I do as much research as I can from home, so I can make the best use of my time when I do go to the library.

Let me say I am surprised at how much I was able to discover working from home. I want to add the disclaimer that the resources I used are just the start of my research. The Internet provides lots of information, but most of the information needs to be verified elsewhere. In general I prefer original documents or copies of original documents, rather than transcriptions. Human error with transcriptions is always a factor. In part three of my series I will outline what my next steps will be as far as researching and accessing original material and records to support and further my research.

My main goal was to find out what happened to Lizzie Naramore after she was released from the state mental hospital. What became of her? Where did she go? My secondary goal was to trace the Naramore and Craig families as far as I could within the limited research time frame allowed by the COG guidelines and to learn a little about Frank Naramore and Lizzie Naramore to put crime into context.

I started my research with the Family Search Pilot database, because I knew I would probably find birth, death, and marriage information for Massachusetts for the time period I was researching. According to Massachusetts Marriages, 1695-1910 Frank Lucius Naramore (born 1864, age 26) married Elizabeth Ann Craig (age 25) on 25 Oct 1890 in Templeton, MA. The groom's father was Lucius Naramore and his mother was Minerva Warren. The bride's father was listed as Josiah Craig and her mother was Hannah E. Clark.

I easily found three of the Naramore children listed in Massachusetts Births and Christenings, 1639-1915. Ethel Mario[n] Naramore was born 29 Jun 1891 in Templeton, MA. Interestingly, Ethel was born eight months after her parents' marriage. I also found birth records for Chester Irving Naramore (born 14 Jun 1896 in Oakham, MA) and Lina [Lena] Blanche Narramore [Naramore] (born 27 Mar 1900). My guess is another search trying alternate spellings would reveal results for the other three Naramore children.

Not surprisingly I found all six of the children's death records in Massachusetts Deaths & Burials, 1795-1910. The correct death date is listed for all of the children--21 Mar 1901. The death records list the place of death (Barre, MA), Frank Naramore's birthplace (Winchester, NH), and Elizabeth Ann Craig's birthplace (Eastport, ME). The birth dates for the children do not correspond with the dates listed on the birth records I found. The burial place for all the children is listed as Canada which is incorrect. All of the children were interred in the Riverside Cemetery in Barre, MA. Also, while Lizzie spent some time in Eastport, ME I believe she was born in St. Andrews, New Brunswick.

Using a combination of sources--Family Search Pilot, Heritage Quest, and Footnote.com--I found U.S. Census information from the years 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900, and 1930. I found the record for Frank, Elizabeth, and all of the children for 1900. I also found U.S. Census information for Frank L. Naramore and siblings in Winchester, NH for 1880. I also found census information for Frank L. Naramore, siblings, and parents in the 1870 U.S. Census and in the 1860 U.S. Census. Lizzie was listed as Elizabeth Craig (age 16, approximate birth date 1865), along with her father Josiah (age 54, approximate birth date 1827), and sister Hannah Craig (approximate birth date 1864) in the 1881 Canadian Census in St. Andrews, New Brunswick. Most interestingly I found Frank L. Naramore living as a boarder with another family in Worcester, MA in the 1930 census. I was not able to find any mention of Lizzie in the census after 1900 or any mention of her at all after 1906.

I found two articles in PERSI (Heritage Quest) regarding the Craig family of New Brunswick listed in the references below. I also found a listing for Frank Naramore's brothers' sawmill in the Gazetteer of Cheshire County, Town of Winchester, NH, 1736-1885.

I also found some family tree information on RootsWeb, and a message on the message board from a woman who is also doing research on the Naramore family. I contacted the woman on the message board and we exchanged research information.

Given the sensational nature of the case I found numerous newspaper articles from across the country using Chronicling America and Footnote.com, as well as the Boston Globe (1872-1922) via the Access Newspaper Archive available through the BPL online. I discovered a lot of information from the newspaper articles, some of it conflicting, and much of it hear-say. One article from the Boston Daily Globe published a reporter's interview with Frank Naramore the day after the murders. Frank's interview paints a less than flattering portrait of Elizabeth, and mentions she had him arrested once. He also implies that Elizabeth accused him running around with women and spending money on rum.

Overall I have eight pages of typed research notes. Besides the children and Frank and Elizabeth I was able to find some information for a total 19 additional family members, as well as nine other people involved in the case in some capacity.


See Also:

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 3 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 4 of 4)



References:

Craig Family, 1785-1985, New Brunswick. Loyalist Gazette. Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Dec 1985. Vol. 23, issue 2.

Joel & Sara Craig's Colony, New Brunswick. Beaver: Canada's History Magazine. August 1998. Vol. 78, issue 4.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 1 of 4)


(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) A hundred years before the Andrea Yates and Susan Smith cases made national news, a similar but mostly forgotten tragedy occurred in the sleepy little town of Coldbrook Springs, Massachusetts. In 1901 "The Coldbrook Tragedy," as was it was called also made national news. I became intrigued by the story a number of years ago after reading an article in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette about the case. I decided to research some of the people involved in the case for the 97th Carnival of Genealogy and for a writing project I hope to work on later this year. "The Coldbrook Tragedy" is not related to my personal genealogical research in any way.

A Brief Overview of the Case

On March 21, 1901 in Coldbrook Springs, sometime in the early afternoon, a Mrs. Elizabeth A. Naramore killed her six children one by one, oldest to youngest, with a club and an ax in the kitchen of the family home. She then, unsuccessfully attempted suicide. Elizabeth, also known as Lizzie, later plead guilty in Worcester Superior Court to the murder of one child, daughter Ethel Marion Naramore, age 9. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Mrs. Naramore was sentenced to life in the state hospital in Worcester. On November 30, 1906, after spending five years at the mental hospital, she was judged to be sane and released.

Some Details Concerning the Case

First some background on the case as told in the Telegram & Gazette (T&G). I accessed the articles listed below from the ProQuest database, Massachusetts Newsstand via the Worcester Public Library (WPL) website. I used the articles in the T&G for basic information on the case and as a starting place for my research.


According to the T&G Elizabeth Craig Naramore was a native of St. Andrews, New Brunswick. At the age of 19 she met and married Frank Naramore of Baldwinville, Massachusetts even though her friends and family were opposed to the match. The couple moved to Coldbrook Springs, near the town of Barre in central Massachusetts. Mrs. Naramore was described as a hard worker and a loving mother. Husband Frank Naramore, who worked at the nearby Parker Lumber Company, was a well paid worker but also an undependable wastrel, abusive, and a womanizer. While Frank wasted the money he earned, Lizzie and their six children lived in poverty. The children were: Ethel Marion, age 9; Charles Edward, age 7; Walter Craig, age 5; Chester Irving, age 4; Elizabeth, age 3; and Lena Blanche, age 12 months.

Shortly before the tragedy occurred, Lizzie reached out to the Overseers of the Poor in Baldwinville for assistance. When the overseers visited the Naramore home they determined that the Naramores situation was so dire, due to the dilapidated condition of the home and the lack of food for the family, the decision was made to take the children away. Five of the children were to be placed with foster families and the youngest, an infant, would be sheltered at a poorhouse in Holden, Massachusetts.

Before the authorities were able to take her children away, in an act of desperation, Lizzie killed them one by one and then tried to kill herself. She survived the suicide attempt, was tried and plead guilty to the murder of her oldest child Ethel Marion Naramore. She was never tried for the murders of the other children. Elizabeth Naramore was committed to the state mental hospital. After her release she left central Massachusetts to work as a clerk in a Boston department store, returning once in 1907 to visit the graves of her children. Frank Naramore left Barre after the children's funeral and the subsequent trial of his wife and was never heard from again. At the funeral for the children, the Reverend Charles Talmage, pastor of the Barre Congregational Church, gave an impassioned speech which placed the blame for the situation squarely on Frank Naramore as an abusive father and the community at large for turning a blind eye to the what was known to be a situation of abuse and neglect.


See Also:

COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 2 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 3 of 4)
COG 97: Researching "The Coldbrook Tragedy" (Part 4 or 4)


References:

Bradford L. Miner. (2002, July 31). Barre plans dedication of Naramore memorial :[RT. 9 WEST Edition]. Telegram & Gazette,p. B4. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from Massachusetts Newsstand. (Document ID: 144296651).

Bradford L. Miner. (2002, June 30). A final tribute ; Six slain children will be forgotten no longer :[ALL Edition]. Telegram & Gazette,p. A1. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from Massachusetts Newsstand. (Document ID: 130795151).

Bradford L. Miner. (2002, August 5). A town bears witness ; Barre memorial honors six slain children :[ALL Edition]. Telegram & Gazette,p. B1. Retrieved August 23, 2010, from Massachusetts Newsstand. (Document ID: 146878981).

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Follow Friday: AHA (American Historical Association) Today

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) A while back I started reading AHA Today, the blog of American Historical Association. According to the blog's "About" page, AHA Today is "...focused on the latest happenings in the broad discipline of history and the professional practise of the craft that draws on the staff, research, and activities of the AHA." The staff hopes the blog will "...serve as a clearinghouse for interesting, and perhaps useful information about the profession." While not specifically designed for genealogists and family historians I've found a number of articles which have peaked my interest.

I particularly like their weekly
What We're Reading posts, kind of a historian's reading round-up, a la Randy Seaver's Best of the Genea-Blogs weekly post at Genea-Musings. This week's What We're Reading: August 19, 2010 Edition includes a link to Captured: America in Color from 1939-1943, originally published at Plog, Photo Blogs from the Denver Post. The color images, mostly of rural America, bring a warmth, currency, and sense of vitality I sometimes find lacking in black and white photos. I found another interesting link at the bottom of the Captured: America entry, Captured: Color Photography from Russia in the Early 1900's. It's a fascinating look at photos by a Russian chemist and photographer who used his own unique process for creating color images to capture photographs of ordinary people across Russia.

This week I found AHA Today's post,
The 90th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment and the links within particularly interesting. Sometimes I still find it hard to believe that I am only the second generation of women in my family born with the right to vote. Another "find" in What We're Reading: August 12, 2010 Edition was Winners: Most Innovative Archives, which led me to The HerStory Scrapbook. The HerStory Scrapbook includes over 900 articles from the New York Times, written between 1917 and 1920, "...about the women who were fighting for, and against, the right to vote."

I also found reference to London Lives 1690 to 1800 via AHA Today. The project description on the website says, "London Lives makes available, in fully digitised and searchable form, a wide range of primary sources about eighteenth-century London, with a particular focus on plebeian Londoners." London Lives provides access to historical records with 3.35 million name instances. All I can say is, wow!

Other items of interest found through the AHA Today site include the post History, There's an App for That and a link to Historical Fiction: The Ultimate Summer Getaway at NPR.

With all that and much, much more, don't wait until tomorrow. Check out AHA Today, well, today!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Not So Wordless Wednesday: Cotter's Leather Goods

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) I correspond with a very lovely lady, one of my online genealogy friends, via e-mail. Over the last couple of years we've exchanged information and research and occasionally do favors for one another. My friend's grandfather lived in Worcester, MA in the early 1900s and worked at his brother's stable on Exchange St. In the course of doing research for my friend, I learned that the Commercial St. and Exchange St. area in downtown Worcester was the center for the stables and horse trades back in the day. Interesting, given that the area is now mainly parking lots and businesses.

My family and I frequently, like almost every week frequently, eat dinner at the Uno's Chicago Bar and Grill nearby. We've been going there for years, and I've never noticed this sign for Cotter's Leather Goods. This time we probably drove through at just at the right time of day now that it's light later during the summer. While Cotter's wasn't my friend's family's business, it was in the area and kind of offers a little window back in time. If you are interested in seeing better photos than mine of Cotter's Leather Goods or are simply interested in old signs, check out the Fading Ad Blog. The Fading Ad Blog has an extensive photograph collection of old signs and fading ads from all over the country.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday: Wladyslaw Kowalewski, The Mystery Continues

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) A while back, in my post What's In A Name? (An Ongoing Series): Kowalewski, I mentioned the frustration I was having tracking an ancestor, Wladyslaw Kowalewski. I was at Notre Dame Cemetery in Worcester, MA planting flowers for my grand-parents and great-grand-parents for Memorial Day when I decided to look up Wladyslaw, who is also buried at Notre Dame. When I stopped at the cemetery office to ask for the location of Wladyslaw's grave, the people in the office kindly provided the information requested. I was somewhat surprised to notice that they listed his age as 53 at the time of his death. The funeral notice in the Worcester Telegram mistakenly, or so I thought, listed his age as 53. All along I'd suspected the Telegram funeral notice was incorrect, but now I was starting to wonder. I thought he was 63 when he died. Hmm...

After planting flowers at my grandparents grave, I drove around a bit and found Wladyslaw's grave without too much trouble. An interesting side note, even though Wladyslaw's wife Antonina (buried 14 Feb 1933 at age 63) is also buried in the same plot, her name is not listed on the stone. A John Kowalewski, a son I believe (buried on 19 Sep 1932 at age 39) is buried in the plot as well and is also not listed. As you can see from the photo above the stone reads the following, "Wladyslaw Kowalewski, 1865-1928, Prosi o Zorowas Marya." Hmm again... 1865-1928. Wouldn't that make him 63? My guess is the family, who actually knew how old he was, put the correct end date on the stone. Clearly my next stop is to Worcester City Hall to get a copy of the death certificate.

Poor Wladyslaw. Spelling issues followed him throughout his life and apparently into eternity as well. Look at the inscription on the gravestone, "Prosi o Zorowas Marya." I had trouble translating Zorowas, so I asked my cousin Marek for assistance figuring it was another misspelling of some sort. Marek told me the word should be spelled Zdrowas. Aah. The inscription should read, "Prosi o Zdrowas Maryjo" translated, "Please say Hail Mary." That's about right...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Madness Monday: Splog Busters, or My Experiment to Fight Splog

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) I've been reading all of the blog articles about splogging and content theft over the last couple of months with great interest. As a "newbie" blogger I was surprised to discover that I too had been splogged. In response I did my due diligence. I contacted the sploggers, sometimes several times, and asked for my material to be removed from their sites. Most of the time my material was removed, but it was a frustrating, time consuming process.

One thing I've noticed on the various splog sites--the sploggers conveniently leave out my name and blog address from the splogged portion of my blog. I've also noticed they include about a paragraph of my content in their splog. I decided to try a little experiment. For the last month or so I've included a copyright notice at the beginning of every post, "(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette)." I figured if the sploggers were picking up the first paragraph of my post then they'd pick up the copyright statement as well. It's kind of a pain, and I think it disrupts the flow of my writing, but if it helps deter content theft then I feel it's a worthwhile means to an end.


Since I've started my experiment I've noticed that I don't seem to show up on sploggers' sites as much. My name might show up, but my content doesn't. I once noticed a splogger chopped off the word "copyright," but did include "2010 Cynthia Shenette." At least my name appeared in the post which is better than nothing. My guess is they have some kind of program that eliminates posts with the word "copyright" in the content.

I've been doing this for about a month and have noticed a difference. The other night I asked my husband, a web architect, about this. I asked him if my idea could be working or was it just my imagination. My husband, who is more than happy to tell me when something is in my imagination, said some sploggers may have a filter that eliminates content with the word "copyright" in a post. I also contacted Thomas MacEntee from GeneaBloggers for his opinion. He seconded my husband's opinion that my theory might actually work and not be just bunk and hooey. Thomas suggested I post about my experiment. I would love for other bloggers to try my idea and report back with your results.

Together we can fight splog!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Follow Friday: Walking Pictures, Ancestry, and Free Stuff

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) I love it when I learn something new. I also love it when I learn something new and it directly applies to solving a mystery within my own family history research. This week I learned about "walking pictures." I'd never heard of "walking pictures" before. I started following Brett Payne's blog Photo-Sleuth fairly recently, and his most recent post Spotlight Photos Ltd. - "Walking Pictures" in Derby is fascinating.

"Walking pictures" were a style of photography practiced by street photographers in which the photographer captured ordinary folks as they walked down a city street. Apparently the trend was especially popular from the 1920s through the 1950s. I have a couple of photos in my collection which I suspect are "walking photos." The photo of my mom's cousin, Celina Gzell, I used to illustrate my June article for the Carnival of Genealogy, Meditation: The Strength of Ordinary Women, may be a walking photo. Given that the photo was taken during World War II in occupied Warsaw I am a little skeptical, but it is a possibility. With the photo above I am less skeptical. The photo is a picture of Celina Gzell walking along a Warsaw street with her mother, Leokadia (Szymanska) Szerejko (Abt. 1895-Abt. 1944) in 1935. I love the photo--both ladies are walking along, arm in arm dressed in fashions typical of the time.

I also read Brett Payne's other posts regarding street photographers and walking photos, Sidewalk Photographers - the Other Side of the Coin and Sidewalk Photographers, Bournemouth & Great Yarmouth. Brett also referenced Sheri Fenley's (The Educated Genealogist) article Friday From the Collectors - Sidewalk Photographers in footnoteMaven's Shades of the Departed. Sheri's article was also very interesting.

This week I started following Ancestor's of Mine from Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky & Beyond by Kim. I found her thinking in her post When Ancestry Owns the World very much in line with my own regarding Ancestry and Ancestry's acquisition of ProGenealogists.

I was also happy to get a heads-up on good things to come from Family Tree Magazine in DearMyrtle's post, FTM's 101 Best Free Websites 2010. I read Family Tree Magazine and many of the websites that are listed I already use, but I saw quite a few that were new to me.

TGIF. Enjoy the weekend everyone!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Polka Time!

(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) Actually I have no idea if it's polka time or not. I also have no idea what the history of this photo is, but it's a fun photo none the less. The people in the photo are my grandfather Adolf Szerejko's older brother, Alexander Szarejko (11 Nov 1892-21 Jul 1962) and his wife Klara (Kruzicki) Szarejko (08 Aug 1898-29 Jan 1991). Note the difference in the spelling of the surname--Szerejko versus Szarejko. I feel another article in my What's in a Name? series coming on...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trip to Poland, 1937 (An Ongoing Series): Katowice

June 12-1937
Katowice
Hotel Monopol
Population
Museum
Polytecnic
Katowice is in Upper Silesia
Independent province


(Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) After some time away from writing about my aunt Helen Bulak's 1937 trip to Poland, I have re-immersed myself in my research of interwar Poland. It's time to get back on the train and rejoin our tour with the Polish Merchants Association for our next stop in Katowice.

According to the itinerary I have from my Aunt Helen's trip, I know that she took an overnight train which left Poznan at 12:38 at night on June 12th and arrived in Katowice at 6:13 in the morning on June 13th. The tour group was transported to the
Hotel Monopol and had breakfast at 7:00 a.m. By 10:00 a.m. they were on the road for a tour of the city. What an exhausting schedule!

Through my research I have learned learned that the group probably arrived in Katowice via the Art Nouveau-style
old train station, the city's major transportation center at the time. The old train station, built in the late 19th century, was and still is located on Ulica (abbreviated ul.) Dworcowa and is almost across the street from the Hotel Monopol. While the function of the old train station was replaced by the new Katowice Central Station it still exists a structure of architectural and historical significance. The historic, high-end Hotel Monopol, also still in existence, is located at the intersection of ul. Dworcowa and ul. Dyrekcyjna. It opened its doors in 1903 and was at the peak of its popularity during the interwar years. For the website of the current hotel check here.

Katowice, a city in
Upper Silesia, earned city status in 1865. According to the 1938 Statesman's Yearbook I discovered the population of the city was estimated at 131,725 on January 1, 1937. Interestingly, the population of the city was reduced to 107,735 by 1945. My guess is my aunt intended to write the population of the city in her diary but never did. Her diary simply states "Population." Throughout it's complicated history, Katowice has been ruled or governed by various entities including Bohemia, Prussia, Austria, Poland, Germany, and the Soviet Union. During the time my Aunt Helen visited Katowice, the city was part of the Second Polish Republic and enjoyed some level of autonomous rule. The city is known for its unique modern architecture, much of it dating from the 1930s.

Unfortunately my aunt's diary is lacking as far as information regarding the sights seen in Katowice. She simply mentions visiting a museum and polytechnic. My guess is that she visited the Silesian Museum. According to Wikipedia the
Silesian Museum or Muzeum Slaskie was one of the largest museums in Poland during the interwar years. I have also searched diligently to discover the technical school they visited. My aunt mentions a polytechnic in her diary and her itinerary mentions the group visited a Szkola Techniczna (technical school) as part of their tour. Unfortunately no specifics are given in either the diary or the itinerary. I tried researching some technical schools myself without luck. In frustration I asked my cousin Marek from Poland, who is often of great assistance, for some suggestions. He mentioned the Silesian Technical Scientific Plant, a technical secondary school which opened with some fanfare in 1931, as a possibility. Given what I know, this seems to make sense.

According to the itinerary, after the tour my aunt's group ate lunch, spent some free time in the city, and ate dinner. They enjoyed an evening's stay at Hotel Monopol and boarded the train at 10:25 a.m. on June 14 for Krakow.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

(Almost) Wordless Wednesday: Valley Forge is Back Again


Copyright (c) 2010 Cynthia Shenette) I found this photo in my dad's collection of stuff. My dad was a long-time Navy man, however I'm not aware of him serving on the aircraft carrier Valley Forge. I do know he spent WWII on the battleship USS Indiana and after the war was on the USS Charles Ware. Take a closer look at the photo. The words are spelled out by seamen on deck. At first I thought there were two ships, but the number 45 is on both of them. I think it's the same ship. I've looked for information on this photo online without luck. If you know more about the creation of the photo I'd love to hear from you.

For more interesting information on the US Navy and ships check out my links below under "Military Resources."